Concerned over the high maternal and child deaths, the Rajasthan government on Tuesday launched MSD for Mothers, a global initiative that would help in reducing maternal mortality by establishing a hospital network offering high-quality and affordable private services.
MSD for Mothers has partnered with the Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (HLFPPT) to work in 19 ‘high-focus districts’ and Jaipur. During the course of the next three years, 19 urban and 38 rural Merrygold Hospitals will be set up along with the deployment of more than 1,000 village-based ‘Merrytarang’ community health members.
Rajasthan has a high maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 208 per 100,000 live births while the infant mortality rate is 55 per 1,000 live births. Last year, 4,500 young women lost their lives due to pregnancy-related issues. MSD for Mothers is a 10-year, 500 million USD global initiative launched in 2011 to help create a world where no woman dies from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. In Rajasthan, the project will be run in Alwar, Banswara, Baran, Bharatpur, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Churu, Dausa, Dhaulpur, Dungarpur, Jodhpur, Jhalawar, Jaisalmer, Pali, Sawai Madhopur, Udaipur and Sirohi in addition to Jaipur.
According to Geralyn S. Ritter, senior vice president of Global Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility at MSD, the focus of the project will be scaling up a network of ‘Merrygold’ social franchise clinics and hospitals to increase access to these facilities in rural areas in order to provide access to affordable, quality and care.
Sharad Agarwal, chief executive officer, HLFPPT said they would help in designing and implementing innovative programmes to improve the lives of women and girls in Rajasthan. He said all government schemes would be accepted in these clinics and the cost of treatment would be 60 per cent less than the market price.
Naveen Jain, Managing Director, National Health Mission said it would be worth watching how a pharmaceutical company works for a social cause in a public-private partnership.